Top Mustang ModsLast Updated August 4, 2019 | Chris Cervenka
With a huge inventory of Mustang parts at your fingertips, you'll surely be able to find the right mods to take your Mustang build to the next level. With options like cold air intakes, cat-back exhaust systems, lowering springs, brake kits, and even supercharger kits, the options are truly endless when it comes to finding the right Mustang mods for your build.
No matter which generation of Mustang you have, these are some of our favorite mods to get you started on your build.
- Cold Air Intakes
- CAI & Tune Combos
- Rear Spoilers
- Front Spoilers
- Side Scoops
- Window Louvers
Though we’ve listed some of our favorite modifications for all generations of Mustangs above, if you’re only interested in mods that are specific to your Mustang generation, we’ve also compiled the best Mustang modifications by year.
- Fox Body Mustangs: 1979-1993
- SN95 Mustangs: 1994-2004
- S197 Mustangs: 2005-2014
- S550 Mustangs: 2015-Current
CJ’s has some of the best brands in the industry available for your next Mustang mod such as Baer Brakes, Borla, Roush, Velgen Wheels, Eibach, and of course Ford Performance. With so many choices comes tough decisions - leave the hard part to us and read through this guide for the best route to take for your all-out Mustang build!
Mustang Cold Air Intakes
If you ever wondered exactly what a Cold Air Intake does, it’s actually pretty self-explanatory. The intake system allows air to enter through the throttle body and into the engine at a particular rate, usually measured in CFM or cubic feet per minute. The higher the CFM rating of an intake, the more air that is allowed into the engine. Two things will allow you to increase power on your Mustang with an aftermarket cold air intake: cooler, denser air and the ability to force more volume (CFM) in at a time. By upgrading your factory restrictive airbox to a cold air intake, you’ll be able to allow cool, dense air at a higher volume into your Mustang for additional power.
It should be noted that some cold air intakes require a tuner in order to work properly on your Mustang. To learn more, check out our article on the difference between Tune Required vs No-Tune Required Cold Air Intakes.
Mustang Intake & Tune Combos
If you want to get the absolute most out of your new cold air intake, then it would be smart to add a tuner to complete the kit. From a very basic level, the internal combustion engine requires air, spark, and fuel in order to create an explosion in each cylinder which is transitioned into power. If you add more air into the equation that the factory calibration can handle by adjusting spark and fuel to match, then your Mustang won’t run correctly. And doing so could potentially cause some serious problems.
Be sure to read the description of the cold air intake you’re looking at to make sure it’s either a no-tune required or tune required intake. If you want to get the most power out of your new cold air intake, a proper tune to match is surely the way to go in order to make sure that your Mustang is running in tip-top shape.
Mustang Exhaust Systems
Adding an exhaust system to your pony could potentially be the most popular Mustang mod for any year Mustang. This is purely because it’s not only rewarding to the owner, but to everyone else around the car. Before you see a Mustang come around the corner, you’ll be able to hear it first. That’s where the perfect exhaust system comes in to knock it out of the park.
There are a variety of different routes you can take for your Mustang’s exhaust system: Axle-Back, Cat-Back and Headers or a Downpipe depending on which engine you have. Typically, your most bang-for-the-buck when it comes to adding an exhaust system to your Mustang would be a cat-back system. It frees up the restrictive resonators and provides the aggressive volume and tone you can expect from a real muscle car.
After you’ve added the basic bolt-ons like an intake, tune and exhaust system, it’s time to focus on suspension. Not only for that coveted look you get from a lowered Mustang and eliminating that pesky wheel gap, but also for the improved handling characteristics like reduced brake dive, body sway in turns and squat upon acceleration. With that said, there are a lot of different routes you can go when it comes to adding springs, shocks/struts or even a coilover kit. Not to mention other Mustang suspension mods like Adjustable Toe Links, Vertical Links, IRS Subframe Bushing Supports, and K-Member Braces.
Independent rear suspension is surely a marvel of modern technology when it comes to carving corners on the back roads or road course. However, there are a few downsides to IRS which include wheel hop where your tires are fighting for grip on launches.
Learn more about stopping wheel hop in our other CJ’s Resource Center article.
Mustang Rear Spoilers
Adding a spoiler in a strictly functional sense is to provide additional downforce over the rear (drive) wheels for traction at higher speeds. This is especially the case on many road courses and even some autocross vehicles with giant wings to catch that air and provide that additional drag. However, for the cars that you see driving on the road day-to-day, spoilers are almost strictly an aesthetic modification that add a more aggressive appearance to the rear of the car.
With that said, many of the rear spoilers available for your Mustang will give you the look that everyone is after. With options from Classic Design Concepts, Roush Performance, Cervini’s and more, you’ll surely be able to find a rear spoiler to fit your taste here at CJ’s.
Mustang Front Splitters & Chin Spoilers
When it comes to the front end of your car, there are also many options available to choose from depending on how aggressive you want to get with your look. Adding an aftermarket chin spoiler to your Mustang will surely help your car stand out from the crowd whether you’re backing into a parking spot for a local car show, or coming in hot to a turn at a road course event. Either way, adding a front splitter and/or chin spoiler will not only provide additional downforce, but also a visually appealing modification to your Mustang build.
Mustang Side Scoops
Side scoops on the Ford Mustang date far back to the 1960s with the debut of the 1966 Shelby GT350. On these variants of the Mustang, the scoops were actually functional, and since then have been a design cue on nearly every generation Mustang since then. Side Scoops are no stranger to the S550 Mustang. With various options available from vendors like Cervini’s, Roush Performance and many other highly reputable companies, you truly can’t go wrong with that signature Shelby-esque look from these Mustang side scoops!
Mustang Quarter & Rear Window Louvers
To further the classic muscle car look, adding a set of quarter window louvers and rear window louvers to your Mustang would surely finish the job when it comes to the exterior of your build. Although the classic Shelby GT350 sported side scoops, the Mach 1 from the late 60s and early 70s was well known for the rear window louvers across the back window on the car. Quarter Window Louvers became popular to cover up the quarter window area and give it a classic Fastback look.
If you’re looking for the all-around package that will complete your Mustang and truly make it King Of The Road, then adding a supercharger kit will surely do the job. Featured on our very own Bill Tumas’ 2015 Mustang GT is a Roush Phase 1 Supercharger Kit boasting an impressive 555 RWHP and 670 HP at the crank. (To learn more about parasitic loss, check out our article on How To Read A Dyno Graph) By increasing your Mustang GT up from the factory 435 horsepower, to nearly 700 - you’re going to see an immense difference in how the car performs on the street and the track. If you’re looking for all-out power, then adding a supercharger is surely the way to go.
Fox Body Mustang Mods: 1979-1993
Though the Fox Body Mustang has a lot of strengths, it does also have a few weaknesses that can be corrected easily with aftermarket modifications. One of the easiest things to do is add a strut brace for your Fox Body in order to improve its handling around corners. A triangular strut brace will offer the most support, but even a simple cross member bar has been shown to offer improvements.
Brighter halogen headlights were added to the 1980 Mustang, but there’s no reason why you can’t improve the headlights on your 1979 Fox Body or even add improved lights on 1980-1993 Mustangs. In order to improve your Fox Body Mustang’s headlights and have the results last, it is necessary to install new headlight relays. People who have upgraded their headlights but not their relays typically notice some unusual surging that can cause the lights to go bad prematurely. Installing better headlights isn’t just a sleek looking modification, it’s also a great safety feature.
In 1986, Mustangs went from using a carburetor to electronic fuel injection. Though a throttle body spacer may be beneficial to anyone, it’s especially beneficial for Mustang drivers with engine setups from 1985 or earlier. A throttle body spacer helps to improve the mixture of air and fuel, creating a more even distribution which leads to improved combustion and improved power.
SN95 Mustang Mods: 1994-2004
The SN95 generation was full of big changes to the Mustang. While 1994 and 1995 Mustangs used an overhead valve configuration, in 1996, Mustangs started to use modular engines instead of pushrods, which makes engine swapping a new 5.0 Coyote into your SN95 much easier. Really, for a lot of older Mustangs, adding a modern engine (the Coyote is our favorite, but there are a lot of options) is a great way to improve the performance while maintaining the appearance of a vintage Mustang.
If you have a New Edge Mustang, but you’re interested in modifying it with parts from that time period, you might consider upgrading to a T-56 transmission. These transmissions were used in the 2003-2004 Terminator Cobras, and are still considered an exceptional transmission. The SVT Cobras typically stayed on the cutting edge with the parts that they used, and those parts make great modifications for other Mustangs from the same era. Because of the sleek look of the SN95 Mustang, it’s normal to see it modified with front spoilers and chin splitters as well, which is a sleek look, especially when lowered.
S197 Mustang Mods: 2005-2014
Some refer to the S197s as “Retro-futurism,” which is just another way to say that this is a car that knows where it came from but is also continuing to march forward. Unfortunately, some of our favorite performance car features weren’t brought along for the early parts of the ride. Adding hood scoops to a 2005, 2006, or other early S197 accentuates its sporty look, and there’s no reason why they can’t be functional as well. Likewise, there’s just something about a 2010 Mustang with window louvers that is really eye-catching.
Though some 2013 and 2014 models came with HIDs and LEDs, upgrading the headlights of S197 Mustangs is easy. So, why are so many 2012 Mustangs still driving around with halogens? Headlights are an attractive upgrade for this generation that also improves safety.
The spoiler options for S197 Mustangs were also much more limited than they needed to be. For the 2005, 2006, and 2007 Mustangs, a sporty looking spoiler was an option, but there’s no reason to limit yourself to that choice. As more people start to play with the appearance of their S197 Mustangs, it’s becoming clear that there is no limit to how much you can customize your Mustang’s look.
By 2007, Shelby had returned to the Mustang lineup. This is a big deal even for non-Shelby owners since it expanded the modification options significantly and helped to show what the S197 Mustangs were capable of. 2007-2008 Mustangs will notice an abundance of high-quality superchargers, which is a great performance upgrade.
S550 Mustang Modifications: 2015-Current
The S550 generation is still new, and you might think that means that there aren’t a lot of modifications for it, but you’d be wrong! Some of our favorite modifications for 2015-2017 models include upgrading your hood. From the ultra-sleek carbon fiber heat extraction hood to the significantly more aggressive looking Cervini Stalker hood, there are a lot of ways to make the front of your Mustang look unique. 2018 and 2019 have similar hood modifications available, but because of the facelift, it is very important to make sure that your year matches the part that you’re purchasing. Throughout the year we anticipate seeing more aftermarket support for the front of the new S550 Mustang.
Exhaust modifications are extremely popular, especially for Mustangs with active exhaust systems, a feature that’s available for all 2018+ Mustangs.
Owning a Mustang is incredibly rewarding. With a new Mustang, you have all the latest technology, performance, and engineering from Ford all sitting in your driveway. With such an impressive new vehicle, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of mods available. Whether you're after a pure speed boost or looking to improve your handling, with the vast selection of Mustang mods available at CJ’s, you will surely find what you need to make your Mustang your own!
If you’re looking to boost the power output on your Mustang, one of the first mods usually is a Cold Air Intake. The idea is to free up air-flow coming into the engine which allows your Mustang to breathe easier equating to more power. Factory airboxes are typically restrictive and don’t allow sufficient airflow to the throttle body and intake manifold in the upper RPM range. Adding a cold air intake will increase that air-flow when the engine needs it most allowing for more power!
For those of you out there who may be just getting into the Mustang scene or want to learn a bit more on engine power and how it can be measured, then you’re at the right place! On a very basic level, a dynamometer or dyno is a machine that is used to measure power output from the engine of a vehicle.
Regardless of what style, finish and size wheel you’re looking for, CJ Pony Parts has the selection you need to outfit your S550 with the rims and tires that will set your car apart from the rest! Be sure to give us a call or order online and don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions. We are always happy to help!
Some say the independent rear suspension on the S550 Mustang was much overdue in comparison to many other muscle cars on the market. Well, whether you like it or not, it’s here and here to stay on the 2015+ Mustangs. Corner carvers love IRS but when it comes to straight line acceleration, drag racers may experience some wheel hop. Take a couple pointers from CJ’s and Steeda on some great parts to help stop the wheel hop on your 2015-2017 Mustang!